Interview by Cristóbal Torres
Song of Anhubis is a band from Spain which is ready to release its sophomore album called “Reversed Reflection” due on October 23rd. In this interview the band talks about how it was working with a very famous Spanish pop scene producer in order to achieve a special sound in its music without losing the metal style and the great opportunity they had by singing with a label just a few days before they were set to release its album as an independent band.
How did the band start; did you contact Polvareda Johnson or vice versa; since when do you know each other?
I met Paul collaborating with my voice in a concert of the band in which he played, and after having already been the vocalist of two bands, he offered me to start a project together. We had the same musical interests, a very similar taste and we connected great from the beginning, so when he showed me the riffs he had composed, I accepted immediately, we started this adventure called: Song Of Anhubis… and that was 8 years ago!
Have you ever contemplated writing in Spanish or even Basque, or did you bet on English from the beginning?
Singing in English was always the first option for us. The music that we always heard was and is in English and we think that, in terms of phonetics, is the best language for singing.
In our upcoming second album, Rei sings one song in Spanish (Hypersomnia). Probably, in the near future, we will do a song in Euskera because it is a pretty language to sing too.
Where did Rei Reich learn to sing and how did he realize that he could use his voice that way? It’s really shocking!
Oh, thanks so much!
I have always been passionate about music and singing since I was very young, so music has been present in my life all the time, both in good times and bad. That’s why I always wanted to create my own soundtrack for my feelings and experiences, to be able to express everything that is sometimes difficult to define with words alone.
When I started to sing Nightwish covers, I realized that I had a facility to sing that style naturally and I ended up joining the lyrical style with a voice placement more influenced by other styles and artists not related to metal such Christina Aguilera, Anastasia, Adele… The current pop is not a style that I like too much but those vocalists are a reference for me in aspects of vocal technique.
In this new album I notice a turn in your sound compared to your debut album, what is this new direction due to; was it premeditated or did it come naturally?
Well, when Paul and I formed the band, it was clear to us that it was going to be very influenced by gothic metal groups from the 90’s and 2000’s. We both wanted to create something of that style and in fact, our first album is quite atmospheric and melancholic in general although it has a somewhat more metal theme.
At that time, despite having been in two bands and having collaborated in some concerts, I hardly had a musical career. In Paul’s case, he was more experienced, but he had never had the opportunity to play in a band with a female singer and that style he had always wanted to do, so let’s say that making the first album was a journey full of learning.
We learned a lot both on the compositional journey and in the recording studio. Also, I was used to lyrical singing almost exclusively, therefore, that is the style that predominates in that album.
After that, it was clear to me that I didn’t want to be pigeonholed and I embarked on a hard journey of learning new vocal techniques, expanding the register, experimenting with other completely different musical styles, etc. I think that is one of the reasons why it took us so long to release our second album: REVERSED REFLECTION.
On the other hand, Paul began to experiment with electronics. We were clear this time that we wanted to evolve, get away from the style of our first album a bit and find our own sound, so we opened our minds. Paul has always listened to music of all kinds, not just metal, and in metal he listens from the softest to the most extreme.
So it’s a pleasure to work with him because since we decided to experiment with other sounds he always comes with new ideas and sometimes… quirky ideas, ha, ha, ha.
Therefore, in this album you can find a much more mature work, the result of a lot of enthusiasm, work and effort behind and in which, as always, we have given our all in each note.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but on the first album it was only Rei Reych and Polvareda Johnson, right? Now the band is presented with a new line-up, how much has the integration of these new elements benefited?
A few months before we entered the studio to record our first album, the bassist and keyboardist left the band. In that situation, we had two ways to continue with the band. Wait and search for new members or recorded with some collaborations.
We decided on the second option because extending the recording of the album even further, was counterproductive for us as several of the tracks were old and starting to become obsolete. The drummer, Jon, participated in the recording as a member of the band.
So… As a new member only is Mario like bassist and synths player.
Mario brings us many good things as a part of the band, in terms of songwriting, recording ideas in his home studio, making arrangements, etc..
This is a great advantage to go later to the studio to record with many clear musical concepts.
The main composers of the band are Rei and Polvareda. Polvareda works on the main instrumental lines with the guitar and/or the keyboard and Raquel on the lyrics and the vocal melodies. Usually the rest of the band always complement the songs with several ideas. Also, Mario made two complete songs for this album.
How was the experience of working with Jagoba Ormaetxea and how much did it influence you to achieve the sound you present on your album?
Jagoba Ormaetxea is a very well known composer and producer in our country. He works with some popular bands, out of metal, in our country like La oreja de Van Gogh, Sober, David Busbal and so on. We were not very happy with the production of the first album and we chose to change in this aspect.
Jagoba has a lot of experience in pop rock music productions and we wanted to give that aspect to several songs on the album without losing the strength and perspective of metal.
We went to the studio with the production of several songs very defined by the work done in Mario’s home studio, as we mentioned before, but in other songs we didn’t have things so clear and he gave us the vision we needed to bring them to fruition.
However, we wanted to do three heavier songs for this album and for those songs, we wanted to have the production of Pedro J. Monge, more experienced in heavy music and we are very happy with the result because we have managed to give the album a lot of musical variety.
You had originally announced the album for the end of May with the name Reflected / Reflection, but now it will be released in October and with the title: Reversed Reflection, what was the reason for that change of date and title?
Basically because at first we were going to self-publish it and the departure date was going to be May. But shortly before we received some offers of labels being the one from Rockshots Records the one that satisfied us the most, both for the catalogue of bands as well as for the general conditions. That’s why we had to postpone the release date of the album because everything we had thought for our self-release was no longer valid because we no longer depended on ourselves and we had to stick to the dates set by the label which logically were different.
Regarding the change in title, we had some similar ideas and we realized that the finally chosen is the one that we like the most and best describes the feeling of the album.
Why were your first two singles, “Persephone’s Call” and “Misanthropia”, taken off the web?
With the idea of self-release in mind, we decided that those songs would be the singles of the album and we uploaded them as singles only on Youtube. Once we signed with the label, we removed them, because first, when we released it with Rockshots we decided to record three more songs for the album, second because having those three new songs recorded for the occasion, we decided that the singles would be others and third because we didn’t want to clash with the label’s singles release schedule. There is no point in announcing three singles before the release of the album and having two already posted on youtube before the label’s announcement.
Your first album came out independently and now you release your sophomore album with an Italian label, what is the difference or advantage of doing it one way or another?
The advantage of self-publishing is that we can control all aspects of the edition, promo, dates, etc. That control over your own work is lost when you are on a label, but we believe that the advantages of being on Rockshots are more than the disadvantages since they reach places that would be impossible for us due to ignorance or lack of business structure. In the end, being on a label means that we have good distribution and that our product reaches as many people as possible.
Now with an established lineup and a label releasing your album, what would be the next step to continue to strengthen the name of the band?
We think that the objective should be to play live to make ourselves better known outside our area. Unfortunately, due to the theme of Covid, this aspect is currently quite stopped. So we will focus on making promotional clips for the singles that are pending until the release date of the album, hoping that they will have the widest possible diffusion.
Last year you had several presentations and the band was going from strength to strength, how have you managed to stay in shape and not lose the cohesion you had on stage?
Unfortunately, we have had to stop rehearsing because of the Covid and until this issue is clarified we will be in Stand-By. Once the light is seen, we will start rehearsing again and in a month we will be ready for the road again!
What are the activities that you have planned to continue promoting the new album, taking into account that it is not yet possible to play live?
Film new video clips, move the album around in fanzines and magazines for possible reviews/interviews and stay alive on social networks.
Thank you very much for your time and your answers! Any final words for readers?
Thank you very much for the interview. To the readers, we invite you to listen to the promo singles on Spotify and Youtube. We believe that you will not be disappointed if you like this style of music.